Being in a law school is not an easy task, as the study involved and competition around it can be very daunting for one. Law courses are demanding and challenging due to the level of study, time, competition, and stress involved in the process. First and the foremost thing to keep in mind is that it is not like your high school, the pattern involved it's different from what you have been trained for the last 12 years.
In college, you are not being spoon-fed everything and are expected to figure out most of the things on your own. Unlike your high schools, in law schools you are not told which book to refer to or from what resources you should study to prepare for your exams, there mostly you are on your own. In law school or college, there are no fixed books or resources from where you can learn, you can learn or gain knowledge from any and every kind of resource you get your hands on.
While choosing a career we all are young and naïve and don’t calculate beforehand what we are getting ourselves into. We all are full of false expectations gained from tv shows like suits, Boston legal, how to get away with murder, and others. It all starts with a dream of being a lawyer, however, the actual reality can be very different from your dream. Therefore, being conscious and informed of the realities and challenges that a law college throws on you is significant for your survival, even when you are firm about your decision of being a lawyer or choosing law as your career.
It is a myth among people that students who come from a legal background face fewer difficulties or miseries in law school in comparison to students coming from a non-legal background. The reason behind such misconception is the normal assumption of people that students coming from a legal background have already been introduced to the law and somewhere they are aware of what the legal profession demands from them. This statement can be partially true, however, in most cases, even the students from a legal background are not fully aware of what they are committing to, and just like everyone else, they too start their legal journey from scratch in college.
10 Things You Should Know Early Before Studying Law:
Following is the list of things that every law student must check out before kickstarting their career:
1. A Lifetime Reading Involved:
A law student who is seriously considering enrolling in law school is almost expected to be an avid reader since law schools demand that you devour books like fried chicken. Reading is an essential element for any legal professional, as it helps you stay informed of laws, regulations, cases, and other legal developments.
It also allows legal professionals to understand the larger context of a particular legal issue. By reading legal materials, attorneys can become more aware of the legal system, its history and development, and the various interpretations and applications of laws. It acts as a builder to build a knowledge base that you can rely on when making legal or professional decisions.
Additionally, reading helps lawyers hone their writing skills and become better communicators. Moreover, it is important for legal professionals because it can help them stay up to date on current legal trends and provide insight into potential legal issues.
It is difficult to say how much reading is involved but it is more than any other profession as the law requires deliberation, analysis, observation, and critical thinking skills. One should consider libraries as their holy place and should worship their books to thrive in this profession.
2. Academics Is Not Enough To Excel In Law:
From my time in Law School, this has been one of my most important lessons. Students tend to be overly academic, acing all exams, memorizing case laws, and reciting legal maxims at the drop of a hat. Being academically successful is an important foundation for any law professional, but it is not enough, don't believe what your 50 or 60-year-old uncle or aunty tells you, it does not work like that anymore.
To succeed in a law profession, individuals must have a broad set of skills and qualities, such as strong communication and problem-solving abilities, the capacity to think critically and analytically, and the ability to work effectively with others. Those with a legal background must also have excellent research and writing abilities, be able to manage time efficiently and effectively and be comfortable with public speaking.
Furthermore, possessing a good knowledge of the law and the ability to interpret it is a must. All of these skills and qualities are necessary to excel in the legal field.
More than academically, students should devote their time to developing personality skills by doing moot court competitions, debate competitions, seminars, conferences, etc. It is important to remember that being a bookworm might help you exceed academically but pragmatic and professional skills will help you succeed in your career practically.
3. Job Market:
In recent times, there is a lot of increase in the crowd of legal fields which has created a lack of job opportunities. To be relevant in the legal profession one should follow these suggestions:
- Research the job market in the city or region of the law school you are interested in attending. Consider the demand for attorneys in the area, the types of employers that are hiring, and the average salaries for attorneys in the area.
- Research the career services and advising departments at the school to see what type of help they offer students in finding job opportunities.
- Talk to recent graduates of the school to find out about their job search experiences and whether they have any advice for new students.
- Follow legal industry news and job postings to get a sense of the types of positions that are available and the skills that employers are seeking.
- Utilize online networking platforms to connect with legal professionals and stay up to date with the latest job openings.
4. Know About Your Law School Before Admission:
This is the major regret of most legal professionals that they did not do proper research about their law school before taking admission into it. They did not see the quality of courses they were offering, the extracurricular activities involved, what are their post-graduation placements, and most of all the reputation of the law school in the market. Going into a law school with research is like giving the keys to your clay to an amateur potter who can either make it or destroy it.
Before opting for any law school you should always research the location of the college, department, faculty, placement facilities, and activities involved to increase your skills. You should know the strong and weak points of your college before admission and make your decision accordingly considering your plans and priorities.
5. The Myth That Life Revolves Around Your Next Tutorial or Seminar:
This is false. Life in a law school does not revolve around tutorials and seminars. While attending tutorials and seminars may be part of the law school experience, many other activities and experiences are available to law students, such as hands-on legal work, student organizations, and internships. Additionally, law school provides ample opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities and social activities outside of the classroom.
6. Don’t Give Out Free Legal Advice At The First Sign:
It is not advisable to give out free legal advice at the first sign during your first year in law college. Doing so could put you at risk of providing incorrect advice to someone and potentially facing legal repercussions.
Additionally, legal advice should only be provided by qualified professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter and laws related to it. You must spend your first year in law college focusing on your studies and learning the basics of the legal field.
So calm yourself down whenever your non-lawyer asks you for any legal advice, study about the issue, consult it with your teachers and then give any legal advice, no matter how tempting it looks it is not advisable during your initial years. Law is a field that demands specialization which generally lacks during your initial years.
7. Practicing Self-care And Striking A Balance:
In the legal profession, self-care is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Pulling all-nighters, eating fast food, and watching screens for hours are normal in a law school, however, these unhealthy habits can cause deterioration in your health, so it is very important to keep a check on your behavioral patterns. To practice self-care, it is important to take regular breaks, invest in activities that bring joy, and practice healthy habits such as proper nutrition and exercise.
Additionally, setting boundaries and limits on work hours can help to ensure that there is time for relaxation. Taking time to unplug from work can also help to reduce stress and help to create a better sense of well-being. Finally, it is important to build a strong support system to rely on during times of stress.
Building a network of trusted colleagues, friends, and family can help to provide a sense of community and support and will keep you sane throughout this crazy journey.
Taking care of your mental health is more important than physical health in a law school as complex and huge syllabus and competition around you often takes a toll on your head.
By taking care of your mental health after some time, you'll discover that you've gained a much deeper understanding of people, their problems, their insecurities, and their aspirations.
8. Law Books Can Be An Expensive Commitment:
Law books can be expensive, depending on the type of book and where it is purchased. Textbooks needed for law school can cost hundreds of dollars, while research materials and reference books can cost even more.
Online bookstores and used bookstores may offer more affordable options. Therefore, it is recommended to choose the profession wisely when considering the cost of books and materials.
It is also important to research an occupation thoroughly before committing to it, taking into account the cost of materials and other associated costs and your financial affordability for it. It should not dig a huge into the pockets of your parents as they already have to bear the expenses of your tuition fees and other expenses.
9. Social Stereotypes of Law Students:
Just like any other profession, law profession also comes with certain stereotypes like the following:
- They are overly competitive.
- They are bookworms.
- They are nerds.
- They are ambitious and driven.
- They are excellent analytical thinkers.
- They are good communicators.
- They are rule followers.
- They are rational decision-makers.
- They are logical and methodical.
- They are good at problem-solving.
It will be better for you to prepare your responses for these stereotypes in advance. The most asked question will be if you can save someone from jail if they commit any crime. The answer to that one should always be NO! Lol.
10. Work Hard, be Smart, And Be Organized In School:
- Develop Effective Time Management Skills: Learning to manage your time effectively is essential for success in law school. This means making sure you have enough time to study and complete assignments, as well as attending lectures, seminars, and other activities.
- Stay Organized: As you progress through law school, it’s important to stay organized. This includes creating a system for keeping track of your readings, assignments, and other tasks that need to be completed.
- Take Notes: Taking notes during lectures and seminars is an important part of learning the material. Make sure to review your notes regularly to ensure that you understand the material and can recall it when needed.
- Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class or during office hours. This will help ensure you understand the material and can apply it on assignments and exams.
- Develop Effective Study Habits: It’s essential to develop effective study habits that will help you succeed. This includes reading ahead, taking practice exams, and seeking out study groups.
- Utilize Resources: Law schools have a variety of resources available to students, including writing centers, career counseling, and academic advisors. Utilize these resources to get the most out of your law school experience.
Before entering law school, it is important to understand that law school can be a challenging experience. It requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn. It is also important to know that there are many resources available to help you succeed, including faculty and staff, online resources, and study groups.
Additionally, you should research the law school you are interested in and find out what kind of support it provides and what its reputation is. Finally, make sure to budget your time and finances wisely so that you can make the most of your law school experience.